Yesterday was a magnificently sunny spring day in this part of Pennsylvania. As I outside on the deck drinking coffee and listening to a woodpecker drumming against the trunk of a nearby elm, the phone rang.
It was Lee of L&L.
"Hello, I need to ask Larry something," she said.
"He isn't here. What's up?"
"I've bought a yoga ball and I can't get it to inflate using my compressor. I've tried everything."
"I'll tell him to call."
Later, after doing some weeding in the garden we decided to fetch some black mulch to dress up the flower and shrubbery beds, so we decided to kill three birds with the one stone--get a tuna sandwich for lunch from our local WaWa (Indian for goose), buy a truck load of mulch from our local puppy mill that also doubles as a 'mulch dispensary' in Spring, and call in with L&L to see if we could sort out the Yoga ball problem.
To my amazement, Lee was still working on it, Lynne dressed in a caftan with her mane of long blonde hair tumbling over her shoulders, clearly exacerbated but still giving instructions. The ball was purple, large and flat as a pancake, the compressor straining like a jet engine as Lee held the hose with a valve inside the ball's opening.
"You're taking up yoga?" I said.
"Aha...hopefully." She nodded at what should be a ball.
Lynne was consulting the writing on the box. It was a Yoga novice's dream--mat, wooden thingie to help with body posture while performing the more complex contortions, and the aforementioned pancake-like, lurid ball.
"I can't believe they don't give instructions how to blow the ball up," Lynne said. "She looked at the black hand pump that had come with it. I've given up on this."
"I've got about twenty metal valves and tried any that will fit inside the ball's air hole and still that compressor won't fill it with air," said Lee.
Larry checked the compressor and hose. It was functioning properly.
"That's wierd," he said.
He took a valve he'd brought, stuck it inside the ball's opening, wiggled it about and then switched on the compressor. Stll the ball remained defiantly flat.
He tried another valve with the same result.
"Oh, wait a minute," he said. I think the white thing inside the air hole has to come out."
"I don't think so, Larry," said Lee.
Nevertheless, he took a knife and pried it out. It was long, sealed at the end, but its core was hollow which had allowed the valve attached to the compressor to be inserted without rupturing it.
"It's a plug," I said. "You've got to pump the air into the hole and then insert the plug to keep the air inside.
Sure enough the ball began to fill with air as soon as Larry inserted the valve and started the compressor.
We laughed at how such a simple thing could be so baffling.
"Come for drinks at five," said Lynne. "We'll sit on the veranda and watch the sun set."